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05 December 2019

National Assembly raises 2020 budget

Committee on Appropriations was laid before the upper chamber on Wednesday by its Chairman, Senator Jibrin Barau.

According to Lawan, the Public Procurement bill passed by the upper chamber will be forwarded to the House of Representatives for concurrence.

Lawan said: “What we have done today is really to put the icing on the cake on what we are about to do tomorrow (Thursday) by the grace of God when we pass the 2020 budget. “We have already passed the Finance bills that will ensure that we get the required revenue to implement the budget.

“The public procurement process in Nigeria has been a big bottleneck for sometimes, probably since it was passed. “I believe that with this amendment, the procurement process will be faster and better, as will be the budget implementation process.

“Surely, this bill will have to go to the House of Representatives for them to concur. “I had a discussion with the Honourable Speaker that they will concur with us before we go on Christmas break so that we will give the executive all they would require for them to implement the 2020 budget successfully.” Buhari had on October 8, 2019, presented the 2020 Appropriation Bill to a joint session of the National Assembly for consideration and approval.

The Bill, which has since gone through Second Reading and public hearing, was earlier billed to be presented to the Senate by the committee yesterday, but later deferred following the death of a House of Representatives member representing Rijau/Magama Federal Constituency of Niger State, Hon. Jafaru Illiyasu Auna.

The N10.33 trillion fiscal document presented by Buhari was predicated on some of the following parameters: oil benchmark at $57, Exchange rate of N305 to the dollar, oil production of 2.18 mbpd, Capital expenditure of N2.14 trillion, Recurrent Expenditure of N4.88 trillion and Debt Service of N2.45 trillion among others.

However, it was learnt that barring last minute changes, the capital component of the 2020 Budget may be increased by between N450 billion to N500 billion.

A source close to the Appropriation Committee of the Senate, who spoke under condition of anonymity, said that the increase was meant to take care of exigencies that were not captured in the capital allocation of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government. The source said that the legislature got the buy-in of the relevant executive bodies to make the necessary additions to the 2020 capital expenditure.

A motion by Barau to present the report was seconded by Senator Bassey Albert Akpan. Commending the committee for presenting the report, Lawan notified senators that copies of the report were not ready for circulation to members as they were still being printed. He said that the circulation would be done immediately the committee concludes the printing of the report.

Lawan said: “Thank you Chairman and let me commend you for bringing the report. Let me also inform our colleagues here that the committee will today work hard to complete printing the details of the budget and we hope that it will be distributed to us at the end of today.

“They are still printing them so we expect that the copies will be made available to all Distinguished Senators.” At the Green Chamber, members received the final budget estimate as laid by the House Committee on Appropriation for consideration.

House Spokesman Benjamin Kalu told The Nation on phone that “since the House received the report of the Appropriation Committee on Wednesday (yesterday), there is the possibility of passing the budget on Thursday.

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